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Sapiosexuality: Talk Nerdy to Me
Talk Nerdy To Me
I've been planning on writing an article about sapiosexuality for a while, but upon finding out about OkCupid's new "sapiosexual" orientation option, I realized that there must be some widespread curiosity in the subject. Then I came across an XoJane article written by the executive editor, Emily McCombs, and was shocked. I was unaware of this influx of sapiosexual awareness! Sapiosexuality is now an option on OkCupid. If only they had that option when I was still using the site... But maybe not. McCombs also had misgivings about it that I sympathized with, as most sexual orientations emerge from so-called "obscurity." Her post reflects popular misgivings about sapiosexuality or how its newfound popularity might attract elitist types. She also didn't understand how people could be aroused by displays of intelligence.
I have a feeling that I understand all sides to this, so I decided to speak out about it. So I should probably explain myself.
The only sapiosexuals I've ever spoken with were either people online whom already knew the term or individuals I've told in real life. While I am surprised by the dating population's acceptance of the term, I am not surprised that the label is so many people would readily embraced. But apparently, it's not normal to get aroused when you hear someone talking about computer repairs, philosophy, literature, or any other area of expertise.
Flesh is probably the most popular and publicized stimuli for arousal, but extended philosophical debates? Would most people board the nope train right there? Is it like being attracted to any other skill, talent, or non-physical feature?
Yes and no, but mostly yes.
A sapiosexual is "a person who is sexually attracted to intelligence in others." The word derives "from the Latin root sapien, wise or intelligent, and Latin sexualis, relating to the sexes." Sapiosexuality isn't exactly hidden in plain sight; a lot of people are attracted to intelligence. As I write this, I’ve yet to meet a person in real life who knew what the term “sapiosexuality” meant and actively identified as such. Whenever I talk about it with other people (which is, really, only when the subject comes up), a lot of them realize that their sexual attraction to intelligence is prominent enough to welcome the label.
According to Frank Zappa, the ugliest part of your body is your mind. On behalf of sapiosexuals everywhere, I disagree. It might be the dirtiest part of my body, but it sure as hell isn't the ugliest. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
"First of all, who isn't looking for a smart partner? I'm sure there's a handful of folks out there who prefer pretty people without much to say, but for the most part nobody's ever like, 'Damn, I wanna find a dummy to spend my life with.' It's right up there with 'I like to have fun' in the realm of things that applies to basically everyone, and therefore doesn't really seem worth stating."
#NotAllHumans have a thing for big brains in particular. It was a very startling reality for me to accept because when I asked my social circle (women, men, trans, and everything else) if they were attracted to intelligence, most of them said yes. Why? Because they, themselves, are intelligent and find it sexy when others are intelligent. Intelligent people prefer people of equal or greater intelligence. It’s hard to relate to someone if the intellectual disparity between you is a gaping chasm, so people tend to be attracted to people who are “on their level” so to speak.
There are countless reasons as to why a person might shy away from smart lovers. Some people are simply more compelled by other characteristics such as pro-social morals, sensitivity, humor, etc. Some people are intimidated by the notion of dating someone who's smarter than them. Some might want to maintain the upper-handed “edge” that their intelligence gives them, preferring their partner to be supplicant and submissive. Others just don't care. The possibilities are endless.
But dude, let’s face it: I feel like there’s still an anti-intellectualist sentiment that a lot of people cling to. (Note: I am not implying that Emily McCombs is anti-intellectual!) I’ve always felt that people aren’t so inclined towards others who “use big words,” “deep” subjects, or have interests that might be considered academic.
For instance, I’ve always been a huge nerd about literature and in love with words. Since humans speak what’s on their mind, I often use “non-conversational” language in conversation or in settings that don’t involve lettered keyboards. Unfortunately, people mistake it for snobbery and elitism.
“And then there's the idea that a sapiosexual's physical attraction to another human being is based solely or largely on that person's brain power. Sure, positive qualities in another human being can increase your attraction to them, but if you're telling me that physical attraction matters not a whit to you as long as your potential partner both made it through and understood Ulysses, well...I kind of don't believe you. You can't fuck a mind, no matter what this vaguely upsetting song I discovered called "Sapiosexual" by Ab-Soul says.”
Whoa, there’s a song for this now?! Good morning, starshine! Sapiosexuality says hello. Pardon the TMI, but yes, many sapiosexuals get physically aroused by intelligence. I definitely do. If you think about it, brain-on-brain action sure does get the blood flowing! For sapiosexuals, it really revs up our engines. Like other sexualities, sapiosexuality is fluid. For some people, intelligence is the feature that they find the sexiest.
Y’know how some people like a partner who can cook or fix a car? I like someone who can fix my computer or bullshit with me for hours about some fascinating subject. If I have to rely on some slapdash evolutionary psychology, I’d say that so many of us have Hot For Teacher Syndrome because intelligence is an excellent trait for survival. Then again, some of us have a natural aptitude for dying.
“The implication of sapiosexuality seems to buy that physical appearance and chemistry doesn't matter — that intelligence is the sole ingredient when it comes to sexual attraction. And I just kind of don't buy it. You don't often see anyone fetishizing the homely librarian or the unsightly professor. As one XO editor put it, 'All the people I've heard calling themselves 'sapiosexual' also date conventionally attractive people, so I smell a rat when they say that intelligence trumps all.'"
But that’s the thing: we do fetishize librarians and professors for their reputed intelligence. Pardon my TMI, but discussing German philosophy does sound hotter to me than dirty talk. Some people are turned on by shapely legs. Some people are turned on by certain eye colors or body types. Talk nerdy to me and I'm yours.
Attraction isn’t purely physical. Sapiosexuality, in all its fluidity, goes on a case-by-case basis. Just because I’m bisexual doesn’t mean that I’m automatically attracted to every person I meet. I’m attracted to people who are smart and wear glasses, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be attracted to every person I meet with those features. But I've found that the more intelligent someone is, the more likely it is that I'll be attracted to them. It's the focal point of attraction rather than something that we just like a lot.
Based on my exchanges with other sapiosexuals, it’s clear to me that a lot of us still have physical preferences. It's the little details that make up a whole picture. Brilliance can charm me into overlooking traits that I find unattractive, but it also might not. If a part of me dies from the smell that comes out of your mouth (along with wise words, of course) every time that we talk, then intelligence can't mend that.
Sapiosexuals have turn-ons and turn-offs that are both aesthetic and cerebral in nature. As for my thing with glasses, I admit that it totally comes from my associating glasses with an archetypal "smart" person.
What if I told you that sapiosexuals can be shallow, too? I used to get turned off by incorrect spelling and bad grammar. I realized later how incredibly douchetastic and ableist it is to judge people by their spelling. Just because someone's spelling looks like a can of spilled alphabet soup doesn't mean that they aren't brilliant. There are plenty of stupid people who excel at writing, just as stupid people do in many other fields.
People tend to dichotomize intelligence and stupidity as though they're exclusive opposites on a spectrum rather than a subjective perception based on one's aptitude to thrive in a specific environment. The subjectivity of intelligence reflects through a sapiosexual's personal preferences. I've noticed that sapiosexuals tend to fetishize different subjects for different reasons. I might not even have a clue as to what the hell you're talking about, but rest assured, that won't get in the way of my libido. I love science recreationally, but I'm really attracted to people whom actually succeed at it. That's exotic to me. But as a writer and poet, I think it's hot when people write well. Much like swapping saliva except nowhere near as gross. It’s an exchange of brain juices that turns us on. It doesn’t even have to be an exchange. Even just a small display of intelligence get us going. I love it when someone flaunts their big vocabulary by using words outside of our everyday vocabulary. (You can do this without acting like a pompous porcupine!) To me, they're actual buzz words! I've noticed that sapiosexuals are prone to developing crushes on smart people in class (or, more commonly, teachers) and at work.
If you looked at pictures of Stephen Hawking, you might also assume that I don't have a lady-boner for him. Spoiler: I do. To me, intelligence is sexier (read: more sexually arousing) than any other feature. My attraction to him may or may not reflect my physical ideal. Smart people come in all shapes, sizes, and appearances.
"And finally, what the hell is 'intelligence' anyway? There are a million different ways to be smart — are we talking IQ? Street smarts? Excellent reading comprehension? Clever wordplay? Mechanical or technological talents? Military acumen? Someone who considers themselves too good for emojis and says 'I'm sorry' when you say you're going to see a dumb romantic comedy?"
Y'know, using my sapiosexuality as an excuse to duck out of seeing a romantic comedy sounds like a great idea. If I were on OkCupid, I would also use it along with other subtle hints to take our first meeting in the Barnes & Noble direction. A trip to the museum, though... THAT is a hot date. I'm wet for wordplay. I'd love to go for a walk in the woods and geek out about all of the nature happening around us. I've noticed that I tend to be the most attracted to people who obsess over literature, science, politics, philosophy, math, and... Well, I'm a really versatile person so I often notice people's different intelligences rather quickly (without getting turned on).
Brilliance is diverse in its subjectivity and expressions. Like color and beauty, there are many manifestation of intelligence and not all of them are readily perceptible. Then there's also the most underrated form of brilliance: emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence creates depth and rich character. My experiences have taught me that nothing kills attraction like disproportionate levels of emotional intelligence and the inability to find a common ground in between them.
Degree-holding will only get you so far into my pants; you've got to be a good person and use your powers for good, not evil. It's hot if someone has their MS in sociology. But if all they do is use their knowledge to explain why the Nazis were right or why rape isn't an actual problem, then their "intelligence" is irrelevant and questionable, at best. Sapiosexuals I've known during my youth were so attracted to certain smart people that they were willing to go along with such nonsense. Before they knew it, they were being addressed with Nazi pet-names and stopped posting feminist media on Facebook because it "started fights." (Yes, this happened IRL.)
Instead of using their cleverness to make the world a happier place, evil geniuses use statistics, quotes, speeches, theories, numbers, more numbers, and insults to gaslight my friends into accepting/tolerating their warped version of reality. Like everyone else, sapiosexuals can get so starstruck by our oh-so-smart crushes that we become temporarily blinded to their flaws (though hopefully never to the point of dating a Nazi or someone with rapey opinions). I've put up with far more than my fair share of degradation at the mercy of people "who knew better" than I did; that I was just being too sensitive about their harsh criticisms, back-handed compliments, and Helter Skelter-like views on humanity. In absence of good intentions, intelligence means nothing to me.
"My cynical suspicion is that most sapiosexuals are generally defining intelligence as owning a copy of Infinite Jest, NOT owning a television, and generally feeling just a little bit superior to the rest of the world. The term itself basically forces those who use it to stereotype and narrowly define the concept of intelligence in a way that strikes me as super pretentious and elitist. In which case, I guess I hope they find one another? And then just kind of hang out together in their houses where I am less likely to encounter them?"
You just had to drop the A-Bomb, didn't you? C'mon! Anything Ayn Rand-related is a surefire way to kill the mood. I must admit, though, that I've met a lot of her sapiosexual admirers. If Ayn Rand has groupies, then every other "great" thinker probably has them, too. There's even a dating service that caters to Rand fans. Maybe that's where they hang out?
I will do everything in my power to prevent the fedora from becoming a symbol of sapiosexuality. Sapiosexuals aren't enlightened by our own intelligence; we're hot for the intelligence of others. Well, you might be hot for your own mind if you're autosexual like myself, but that's a whole 'nother story. I can see how sapiosexuality would appeal to pseudo-intellectuals and elitists like garbage appeals to maggots. This is the kind of stuff that makes smug people powertrip some serious balls.
Intelligence is the force that drives a lot of us to commit steamy sex acts. I think it's interesting that people are finally getting hip to the fact that sexuality isn't purely physical in nature. Our porn comes in the form of big ideas, fine literature, enthralling histories, outstanding talent, remarkable resourcefulness, thought-provoking exchanges, and anything else that rubs our brains the right way. Sapiosexuality is an orientation that is essentially defined by an invisible trait, whereas the popular understanding of sexuality relies solely upon the visual aspects of attraction.
Nonetheless, I'm glad to see that it's popular. Now might be the best time to really bring sexy back!
#Real #Sapiosexuality #SmartIsSexy #TalkNerdyToMe #TakeOffMy(Alge)BRA #XoJane #Confessions #AynRandSucks
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12/3/2015 12:10:18 pm
I enjoyed this article, and my vocabulary has been expanded. I do label myself Sapiosexual, but I have a question?
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